Q:

What is the dreams-for-survival theory?

A:

The dreams-for-survival theory states that dreams have helped humans evolutionarily by simulating threats, thus preparing people to fight for survival. It is also called the threat simulation theory.

The theory stems from the notion that many dreams are stressful. When humans are dreaming, they are often dreaming of situations in which they need to fight to survive. This essentially provides practice for survival instincts and functions as a defense mechanism.

A study conducted in Finland in 2005 advanced the dreaming-for-survival theory by analyzing the dreams of children who had experienced many traumatic events and children who had not. The researchers predicted that the experience of the Kurdish children, who had been subject to war and constant danger, would have honed their survival instincts and therefore, they would have higher instances of stressful dreams. The findings supported this prediction, as the Kurdish children reported more intense and more frequent threatening dream events than the group of Finnish children, who had led relatively normal childhoods.

Dreams have been a mystery and a subject of studies and theories in many disciplines, including psychology, evolutionary anthropology and neuroscience. The renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was particularly interested in them as a manifestation of the unconscious mind. He emphasized the need to separate the actual content of the dream from the overall theme or feeling, which tended to symbolize other events in the dreamer's life.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How do dreams occur in the brain?

    A:

    A 2013 study in the journal Brain suggests that dreams are generated by the brainstem, which also regulates sleep. There is very little definitive science on how dreams occur in the brain.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a physical need?

    A:

    According to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a physical need is something critical to the survival to the survival of the human body. Maslow lists the basic physical needs as water, air, food, warmth, sex, sleep and the disposal of bodily waste.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do sharks represent in dreams?

    A:

    To dream of a shark may indicate feeling powerful or angry in everyday life. The context of the dream and the behavior of the shark in the dream can provide more information on the specific meaning of the symbol.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What did Sigmund Freud think about dreams?

    A:

    As described in his book "The Interpretation of Dreams," Sigmund Freud thought all dreams were unconscious expressions of wish fulfillment. According to the book, because the unconscious contained ideas and images that were often disturbing, it would censor, or filter, the information before the conscious became aware of it.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore